$210 Million Settlement was Worth the Wait for Clergy Abuse Victims
Marie Mielke stretched out her arms towards the sky, her hands well opened, and her fingers well spread.
She couldn't contain her joy and sense of victory as she in front of her lawyer's office in front of the television cameras. She wasn't alone, fellow victims of the clergy sex abuse by Minnesota priests, stood there with her.
"Father Michael Keating never took anything from me," she bravely said. "I am standing here right now to fight for my babies."
Mielke became the third survivor to speak up after attorney Jeff Anderson had announced that $210 million settlement had been agreed for about 450 Minnesota victims.
All the victims who are adults now were sexually abused, preyed upon and even raped by priests when they were still kids at school and church.
Those in the conference room that Thursday described how traumatic and pain-filled their life has been all this while as the archdiocese denied the wrongdoings of the priests and even tried to cover it up.
For many just like Marie, this served as a closure as they continued to heal the scar of the psychological and emotional trauma they suffered.
"My kids shouldn't have to go through what I faced," Said David Bidney as his voice shook. "I am in a good and happy place now"
David was 10 when the abuse started on a school playground. Although the size of the monetary statement is large, Bidney said he is more shocked about the 100,000 pages of files and documents concerning the pedophile actions of the priests that were hidden by the archdiocese.
"Today, what was hidden is now open for everyone to see. The world should be shocked to know what had gone all these years." Bidney said.
Bidney had kept the abuse all to himself all these years till one September afternoon in 2007 when his wife called to tell him she was taking their kids to a playground in their neighborhood. He immediately hung up and started shaking, sweating and crying.
"All the memories came back," Said Bidney. A couple of months later, he almost took his life in his bathroom. "I tried, but the gun wouldn't go off." He later found help in Jeff Anderson.
Chairman of the abuse survivors committee, Jim Keenan said during the court proceedings, "I look forward to having my life back without the huge chunk of emotional energy I have to put into this"
Tommy Treloar, 51, had once contemplated suicide, but he stood in front shaking Anderson's hand telling him he was 11 months sober.
Looking happy, relaxed and healthy, Treloar was elated about a fully paid internship he had received from his treatment center.
He has had years of therapy, "It has been the hardest thing for me," He said
Treloar gave an account of how a priest at the immaculate heart of Mary molested him when he was just 11 and the abuse lingered on all through his stay in school.
Treloar is now grateful that the wrongdoings have been exposed and he is completely sober.
Marie Mielke and the others now reflect the actions taken to hold the archdiocese accountable for their actions.
"Good priests still exist out there, but the cover-up covered the good work done by good priests," Said Mielke as she stood with her 10-month-old daughter and her husband.
"There is no price tag on what has been achieved"
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